Author Archives: Giesela Ruehl

23 and 24 October: Conference on the recast Brussels I Regulation in Graz

On 23 and 24 October 2014 Bettina Nunner-Krautgasser and Thomas Garber, both from the University of Graz, will host a conference on the recast Brussels I Regulation (“Die neue EuGVVO – Verbesserung des Rechtsschutzes im Europäischen Binnenmarkt?”). The conference will take place in Graz (Austria). The conference language will be German. More information is available on the conference website.

The programme reads as follows:

Thursday, 23 Oktober 2014

  • 14:00 Welcome notice
  • 14:30 Vom Heidelberger-Report zum Kommissionsvorschlag, Robert Fucik (Vienna)
  • 15:00 Der Anwendungsbereich der neuen EuGVVO, Bartosz Sujecki (Utrecht)
  • 15:30 Die neue EuGVVO und die Schiedsgerichtsbarkeit, Petra Hietanen-Kunwald, Riikka Koulu & Santtu Turunen (Helsinki)
  • 16:00 Discussion
  • 16:30 Break
  • 17:00 Änderungen im Bereich der internationalen Zuständigkeit, Jan von Hein (Freiburg im Breisgau)
  • 17:20 Änderungen in Versicherungs-, Verbraucher- und Arbeitssachen, Ale Gali (Ljubljana)
  • 17:40 Gerichtsstandsvereinbarungen, Bettina Nunner-Krautgasser (Graz)
  • 18:00 Discussion

Friday, 24 Oktober 2014

  • 10:00 Rechtshängigkeit, Alan Uzelac (Zagreb)
  • 10:30 Einstweiliger Rechtsschutz, Vesna Rijavec & Sascha Verovnik (Marburg/Graz)
  • 11:00 Discussion
  • 11:30 Anerkennung und Vollstreckung, Matthias Neumayr (Salzburg/Wien)
  • 12:15 Discussion
  • 12:45 Break
  • 13:45 Änderungen durch die Schaffung eines Einheitlichen Patentgerichts und des Benelux-Gerichtshofs, Bartosz Sujecki (Utrecht)
  • 14:15 Die neue EuGVVO und der Rest der Welt, Gottfried Musger (Wien)
  • 14:45 Discussion

14th Ernst Rabel Lecture at the Max Planck Institute in Hamburg

On 20 October 2014, Dagmar Coester-Waltjen from the University of Göttingen (Germany) will deliver the 14th Ernst Rabel Lecture at the  Max-Planck-Institute for Comparative and International Private Law in Hamburg. She will discuss “Heaven and Hell – Some Refelctions on International Jurisdiction”.  More information is available here.

ERA: Annual Conference on European Family Law 2014


On 25 and 26 September 2014 the Academy of European Law (ERA) will host its Annual Conference on European Family. The conference will be dedicated to recent case law and recent developments in cross-border family matters. Particular attention will be placed on the review of the Brussels IIa Regulation as well as cross-border maintenance after the entry info force of the Hague Maintenance Convention.

Further information is available here.


Conference on “Artificial Reproduction and European Family Law”

From October 2 to 4, 2014 the 12th biannual Symposium on European Family Law will take place at the University of Regensburg (Germany). Hosted by Anatol Dutta, Dieter Schwab, Peter Gottwald, Dieter Henrich and Martin Löhnig the symposium will be dedicated to artificial reproduction. The topic shall be discussed from a comparative and private international law perspective.

The conference language will be German. The conference programme and registration information is available here.


German Federal Supreme Court Strengthens Foreign Notaries – A clear Commitment to Substitution of Form?

By Jan Lieder, University of Kiel, and Christoph Ritter, University of Jena

I. Introduction

In a recent decision[1], the German Federal Supreme Court assessed the legal consequences of a foreign notarization with regard to a share transfer of a German limited liability company (LLC). The holding contains the first statements regarding the substitution of form prescribed by sec. 15(3) German Limited Liability Company Act (GmbHG) ever since the reform of both this Act and the Swiss Code of Obligations. The lately issued court decision received broad attention both due to its implications for future international M&A transactions involving shares of LLCs, and due to its statements as to a foreign notary’s role in the register procedure following a share transfer.

II. Facts and legal history of the case, issue raised on appeal

In the case at hand, a notary from Basel-Stadt (Switzerland) notarized the share transfer of an LLC registered in the Commercial Registry (Handelsgericht) of the Local Court of Munich (Amtsgericht München). The notary updated the list of shareholders accordingly, and filed the list with the Commercial Registry, which, however, declined to include the updated list in the records of the company. The Higher Regional Court of Munich (Oberlandesgericht München) rejected the LLC’s and the presumable transferee’s appeal. Now, the main issue raised on appeal was whether a foreign notary may file an updated list of shareholders with the Commercial Registry under sec. 40(2) GmbHG, or whether, according to sec. 40(1) GmbHG, the LLC’s directors are solely responsible in such a case.

III. Holding

The highest German court in civil matters reversed the previous judgments and ordered the Local Court to include the updated list in the records of the company. The decision contains a twofold holding:

(1.) The registration court may not reject a list of shareholders only because it was penned by a foreign notary.

(2.) The amendments due to the MoMiG[2] do not prohibit that a notarization prescribed by the GmbHG is conducted by a notary of a foreign country, provided that this notarization is equivalent to one under German law.

IV. Interpretation

With the second guiding principle, the Court approves its case law established back in 1981[3]. Thus, the Court finishes, at first glance, the discussion on the MoMiG’s effects on substitution of form requirements[4] by upholding  the thesis that the equivalence of notarization requires that (a) the foreign notary performs functions in her jurisdiction which are commensurate with those of a German notary with regard to her professional qualification and her legal position, and that (b) the foreign notary, while establishing the relevant deed, has to perform a legal procedure which complies with the fundamental principles of German notarization law. In particular, the German Federal Supreme Court argues that the account of the (German) notary for the list’s accuracy shall not be overestimated. Instead, a foreign notary is normally as reliable as a director of the company, who is regularly a layperson, but nevertheless responsible for filing the list of shareholders with the Commercial Registry.

Although this is basically true, sec. 40(2) GmbHG requires a notary who has been involved in any change in the person of a shareholder or the extent of their participation to sign the list instead of the directors without undue delay upon the changes becoming effective and to submit the list to the commercial register. Thus, in addition to the Court’s thesis of equivalence, it is mandatory for a substitution of sec. 15(3) GmbHG that the foreign notary assumes in the deed (an additional) duty to file the updated list of shareholders with the commercial register[5].

Apart from that, the decision remains somewhat ambiguous with regard to the issue of substitution as the Court focuses on the question whether a foreign notary may file an updated list of shareholders with the commercial register. As the Court further develops in the reasoning on the first guiding principle, a foreign notary would have such a right if her notarization is equivalent as described above. However, the standard of review is a rather limited one. In particular, the register court may only reject a list of shareholders that does evidently not comply with the (formal) requirements of sec. 40 GmbHG. Following that line, the Court only examined whether the notarization in Basel-Stadt was evidently invalid (which would give the commercial court the right to reject it) but did not explicitly discuss the substantive law question of substitution. Therefore, it remains unsettled whether the notarization had (substantive) legal consequences, i.e. resulted in the transfer of the share, apart from giving the foreign notary the right to file a new list of shareholders with the German registry court.

Accordingly, legal commentaries vary from warnings of uncertainty in foreign notarization[6], to overly positive statements recommending share transactions conducted primarily in Switzerland[7]. Bearing in mind the rather limited standard of review, we understand the holding as a cautious inclination towards the recognition of notarization at least in canton Basel-Stadt[8].

V. Conclusion

On the one hand, the German Federal Supreme Court solved an important procedural issue. The registration court is no longer allowed to reject a foreign notary’s list of shareholders filed with the commercial register. On the other hand, the Court missed a good opportunity to clarify the substantive legal status of foreign notarizations under the reformed GmbHG. Therefore, legal advisers are forced to examine the respective foreign notary regulation in order to make sure that the equivalence requirements are met[9]. Against this background it remains to be seen whether foreign notarization can further serve as a cost-effective alternative to notarization in Germany.



[1] BGH, 17.12.2013 – II ZB 6/13, BGHZ 199, p. 270.

[2] Modernization of the Law on Limited Liability Companies and Combating Abuses Act (Gesetz zur Modernisierung des GmbH-Rechts und zur Bekämpfung von Missbräuchen – MoMiG), Federal Law Gazette (BGBl.) 2008 I, p. 2026.

[3] BGH, 16.2.1981 – II ZB 8/80, BGHZ 80, p. 76, 78.

[4] For an overview on the discussion, see Walter Bayer, »Übertragung von GmbH-Geschäftsanteilen im Ausland nach der MoMiG-Reform«, GmbH-Rundschau (GmbHR) 2013, p. 897, 911.

[5] For a detailed reasoning, cf. Jan Lieder & Christoph Ritter, »Neues aus Karlsruhe zur Zulässigkeit der Auslandsbeurkundung?«, Monatsschrift für die gesamte notarielle Praxis (notar) 2014, p. 187, 192-193, with further references to the contrary prevailing view.

[6] Recently Klaus J Müller, »Auslandsbeurkundung von Abtretungen deutscher GmbH-Geschäftsanteile in der Schweiz«, Neue Juristische Wochenschrift (NJW) 2014, p. 1994, 1999.

[7] Cf. Axel Jäger, »Beurkundung durch einen ausländischen Notar im GmbH-Recht und Einreichung der Gesellschafterliste«, juris Monatszeitschrift (jM) 2014, p. 241, 243; Christian Mense & Marcus Klie, »Beurkundung durch ausländischen Notar nach Inkrafttreten des MoMiG«, Gesellschafts- und Wirtschaftsrecht (GWR) 2014, p. 83.

[8] Similarly Cornelius Götze & Markus Mörtel, »Zulässigkeit der Einreichung der GmbH-Gesellschafterliste durch einen ausländischen Notar«, Neue Zeitschrift für Gesellschaftsrecht (NZG) 2014, p. 369, 371-372; Mario Leitzen, »Die Zuständigkeit für Einreichung und Korrektur der GmbH-Gesellschafterliste nach den Dezember-Entscheidungen des BGH«, Zeitschrift für die Notarpraxis (ZNotP) 2014, p. 42, 46; Christoph H Seibt, »Anmerkung zum Beschluss des BGH vom 17.12.2013, Az. II ZB 6/13 – Zur Einreichung einer Gesellschafterliste durch einen Notar mit Sitz in der Schweiz«, Entscheidungen zum Wirtschaftsrecht (EWiR) 2014, p. 171, 172.

[9] For an overview on the notary codes of several Swiss cantons, see Klaus J Müller, »Auslandsbeurkundung von Abtretungen deutscher GmbH-Geschäftsanteile in der Schweiz«, Neue Juristische Wochenschrift (NJW) 2014, p. 1994, 1996-1998.


Register Now: Conference on Coherence in European Private International Law

We mentioned earlier that Jan von Hein from the University of Freiburg and Giesela Rühl from the University of Jena will host a (German language) conference on Coherence in European Private International  Law on 10 and 11 October 2014 in Freiburg. Registration is now open. For more information visit the conference website.

The programme reads as follows:

Friday, 10 October 2014

9.00  Welcome and Introduction

1st Session: Grundlagen

9.30    Kohärenz im IPR und IZVR der EU: Herausforderungen und Perspektiven, Prof. Dr. Jürgen Basedow, LL.M. (Harvard), Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law, Hamburg

10.00   Discussion

10.30   Coffee break

11.00   Gemeinsame oder getrennte Kodifikation von IPR und IZVR auf europäischer Ebene: Die bisherigen und geplanten Verordnungen im Familien- und Erbrecht als Vorbilder für andere Rechtsgebiete? Prof. Dr. Anatol Dutta, M.Jur. (Oxford), University of Regensburg

11.30  Gemeinsame oder getrennte Kodifikation von IPR und IZVR auf nationaler Ebene: Lehren für die EU?, Prof. Dr. Thomas Kadner Graziano, LL.M. (Harvard), Université de Genève, Switzerland

12.00   Discussion

12.30   Lunch Break

2nd Session: Der räumliche Anwendungsbereich des europäischen IPR/IZVR

14.00 Das Verhältnis nach „innen“: Grenzüber- schreitende v. Nationale Sachverhalte, Prof. Dr. Burkhard Hess, Max Planck Institute for International, European and Regulatory Procedural Law, Luxembourg

14.30 Das Verhältnis nach „außen“: Europäische v. Drittstaatensachverhalte, Prof. Dr. Tanja Domej, University of Zurich, Switzerland

15.00 Das Verhältnis zur Haager Konferenz für Internationales Privatrecht, Dr. Andrea Schulz, LL.M., German Federal Office of Justice, Bonn

15.30 Discussion

16.00 Coffee Break

3rd Session Subjektive und personale Anknüpfungspunkte im europäischen IPR/IZVR

16.30 Parteiautonomie im IPR und IZVR, Prof. Dr. Felix Maultzsch, LL.M. (NYU), Johann Wolfgang Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main

17.00 Die Verortung juristischer Personen im europäischen IPR/IZVR, Prof. Dr. Frauke Wedemann, University of Münster

17.30 Die Verortung natürlicher Personen im europäischen IPR/IZVR (Wohnsitz, gewöhnlicher Aufenthalt, Staatsangehörigkeit), Prof. Dr. Brigitta Lurger LL.M. (Harvard), University of Graz, Austria

18.00 Discussion

18.30 End

19.30 Dinner (special registration required)

Saturday, 11 October 2014 

4th Session: Objektive Anknüpfungsmomente für Schuldverhältnisse im europäischen IPR/IZVR

9.00 Die Behandlung vertraglicher Sachverhalte, Dr. Michael Müller, LL.M. (Austin), University of Bayreuth

9.30 Die Behandlung deliktischer Sachverhalte, Prof. Dr. Haimo Schack, LL.M. (Berkeley), University of Kiel

10.00 Discussion

10.20 Coffee Break

5th Session: Schutz schwächerer Parteien und von Allgemeininteressen im europäischen IPR/IZVR

10.45 Der Schutz schwächerer Personen im Schuldrecht, Prof. Dr. Eva-Maria Kieninger, University of Würzburg

11.15 Der Schutz schwächerer Personen im Familien- und Erbrecht, Prof. Dr. Urs-Peter Gruber, University of Mainz

11.45 Ordre public und Eingriffsnormen: Konvergenzen und Divergenzen zwischen IPR und IZVR, Prof. Dr. Moritz Renner, University of Bremen

12.15 Discussion

13.00 End of conference

New Hague Maintenance Convention in Force in the EU

The Hague Convention of 23 November 2007 on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance has entered into force in the member states of the European Union on 1 August 2014. It eases the enforcement of judicial decisions relating to maintenance obligations via the establishment of central authorities in each contracting state.

In addition to the European Union the Maintenance Convention is in force in four more countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegowina, Norway and the Ukraine. Ratification in the United States is under way. More information on the Convention’s status (including the full text in English and Spanish) is available here.

The Convention is  accompanied by the Hague Protocol on the Law Applicable to Maintenance Obligations which entered into force in the European Union on 1 August 2013.